Did you know that the Bible never records a single word out of the mouth of Joseph, the husband of Mary and adopted father of Jesus? Yet, we know an awful lot about the character of this man.
Did you know that the Bible calls Joseph “a righteous man”? That doesn’t mean he was holy or sinless or any such nonsense. But it does mean he loved God, he loved God’s Word, and he sought to live in accordance with the Law of God. And just like his forefather Abraham, he believed God’s gracious promises. Such belief God credits as righteousness.
Did you know that Joseph willingly abstained from sexual relations with Mary until Jesus had been born? Did you know that there is no record that God gave either of them a command to do so? Given how many other specific directions we see from God to Mary and Joseph, it’s very possible that we don’t hear about such a direction from God because there wasn’t one.
So why did they make such a decision? Back to Joseph, this righteous man who loved God’s Word and believed his promises. Joseph would have known the prophecy of Isaiah, “The virgin will be with child, and will give birth to a son…” Knowing that God’s Word is to be fulfilled, Joseph willingly set aside his own desires, his own will, and his own rights as a husband for the sake of God’s plan.
What must it have been like for Joseph? He knew the Word. He knew what he had been waiting for. Like any other faithful Israelite, he had spent his life learning the prophecies of the coming Messiah and looking for a sign that the Messiah had come. And then, a mysterious pregnancy, a startling dream, and a commission from God. What must he have thought? “This is it! The Messiah! And I’m going to be his father! I’m going to be his father?! *GULP*”
What must it have been like to know he would be father to the Son of God?
What must it have been like to see the source of his Salvation in the form of a little baby in his own hands?
I think about Joseph a lot more than I think about the other figures surrounding the birth of Jesus (well, except for Jesus himself). Maybe it’s because as a husband I’m often struggling between doing what’s right and best, and having my own rights in the relationship. As a father I’m often intimidated with the job before me and how to properly raise my children. And as a sinner in need of Salvation, I’m often moved to tears thinking of the amazing way God worked his plan to save me.
Praise God for men like Joseph. They provide a good example for all of us. Praise God for Jesus. He provides a way for us to live eternally and to glorify God.